Last word: Third down woes continue, Adam Breneman has a day to forget, more - The Daily Collegian: Football

Welcome!
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Penn State football Last word: Third down woes continue, Adam Breneman has a day to forget, more

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013 12:00 am

Penn State has scored 68 points in its first two games, so surely at some point they moved the chains. It just hasn’t been on third down.

“It was atrocious last week,” center Ty Howle said. “So it had to get better.”

But it didn’t.

The Nittany Lions dominated Eastern Michigan on the ground Saturday in a 45-7 win, but for the second week in a row, couldn’t move the sticks on third down. The team is now 2-for-26 on the season after going 1-for-10 against the Eagles and 1-for-16 against Syracuse. Penn State has converted twice as many fourth downs (4-for-4) as third downs.

It’s not like there’s a magic button coach Bill O’Brien can press to make this problem go away. It’s something Penn State has been working on and will continue to work on throughout the season.

“We do stress it, and we will continue to stress it,” wide receivers coach Stan Hixon said. “We’re going to get better.”

In 2012, the offense converted 42.5 percent of their third downs, good for 47th of 124 teams in the nation.

On the road, of course, it’s more difficult to convert on third down with crowd noise being a factor. But last season, Penn State converted about 1.5 percent less (40.9) of its tries than its overall average. There’s not enough of a disparity to use that as an excuse, just as there’s not enough reason to assume the offense would convert more at home, which it didn’t Saturday.

Again, there’s no magic button. Christian Hackenberg, as he builds confidence, will likely improve on third down. There’s not one specific thing to point to for an immediate improvement. It’s just a matter of executing, tackle Garry Gilliam said. And sometimes, that takes time.

“[O’Brien] has all the schemes and plays in there,” Gilliam said. “It’s just a matter of us going out and doing it.”

Day to remember

Offense: RB Akeel Lynch

Lynch displayed his quickness and physicality in the second half Saturday, carving through the Eastern Michigan defense. He ran for 108 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Against Syracuse, Lynch played solely special teams while Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak picked up just 80 yards on 30 carries. Saturday, all three averaged more than six yards per carry and reached pay dirt at least once.

Defense: DT DaQuan Jones

Jones had his second consecutive coming out party Saturday. After making just 22 tackles all of last season, he’s had nine in each of the first two games of the season (five for loss) and has been a force in the backfield. He has two sacks and is anchoring a stout defensive front.

Day to forget

Offense: Adam Breneman

Hackenberg and Breneman will likely enjoy plenty of success together over the next few years, but the tight end didn’t see the ball much Saturday.

He started at tight end opposite Jesse James and was flagged for holding on the first drive, then didn’t see the field consistently after that.

Defense: LB Nyeem Wartman

Wartman had a fine day, making six tackles, but is likely frustrated with what could have been.

Wartman broke up three passes, but at least two of them could have been interceptions had he gotten to the ball a half second earlier.

Extra point

Sam Ficken’s third quarter field goal gave him 14 consecutive successful conversions dating back to last season, a school record set in 1992 by Craig Fayak.

Did you notice?

Safety and holder Ryan Keiser left the game in the second quarter after being hit hard while blocking during a kick return. Punter Alex Butterworth held Sam Ficken’s field goals and PATs following Keiser’s exit.

Quotable

"Every time I put it on, I remember the guys before me. I'm going to be the last one wearing this number, so I'll make sure I do it proud," Lynch on being able to keep 1973 Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti’s No. 22, which was retired Saturday, for the rest of his career.

More about

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Connect with us


Football Columns

My View: Title IX is a scapegoat for college football’s role in decline of NCAA men’s sports
Posted: March 05, 2014

In this article, I argue that Title IX is a scapegoat for the true culprit for the decline in men’s non-revenue sports: the exorbitant spending on football programs by schools which fruitlessly pursue a mirage of revenue.

Comments (0)
In the midst of uncertainty, Penn State needs stability — whether it's Bill O'Brien or his successor
Posted: December 31, 2013

If Penn State brass is out shopping for a new coach in the coming weeks (or days), its representatives need to identify who could also be using this job as a way to boost their personal brand.

Comments (7)
Penn State football: given ‘new normal’ in Happy Valley, 7-5 record even more impressive than 2012 results
Posted: December 02, 2013

There wasn’t a grand reveal to honor Penn State’s season on Senior Day, nor will there be a Maxwell Coach of the Year award waiting for coach Bill O’Brien come winter.

Comments (2)
Purdue coach Darrell Hazell unwise giving Penn State bulletin board material
Posted: November 18, 2013

Hazell thought earlier last week that Penn State’s running game wasn’t on par with Iowa and Wisconsin. Bill O’Brien proved otherwise.

Comments (0)
If Jameis Winston deserves the benefit of the doubt, so does the woman who said she was sexually assaulted
Posted: November 15, 2013

Media, fans and those pesky pundits are responding in a typical way — they’re perpetuating the idea that sexual assault can be the fault of the victim by blindly criticizing a typical 11-month investigation.

Comments (4)
In recruiting ratings, the analysts tab the five-stars, but lower than that? It’s shades of gray
Posted: November 14, 2013

Rating Division I football prospects is a serious business that garners a great deal of national attention. So we had to ask: are these ratings indicative of how a player will perform in college?

Comments (0)
Column: Penn State football once again shows down doesn’t always mean out
Posted: October 13, 2013

A Penn State win appeared hopeless at several points in Saturday’s game against Michigan. But resiliency once again led coach Bill O’Brien’s squad to victory.

Comments (0)
Lions face a gut check in Michigan
Posted: October 11, 2013

The second-year coach said this week it’d be crazy to think Saturday’s all-stadium White Out on ESPN at night is a normal contest.

Comments (0)
Penn State football isn’t perfect, and that’s OK
Updated: October 08, 2013 - 12:00 am

Yes, a Joe Paterno-coached team never lost to Indiana. And no, Penn State didn’t play or coach its best Saturday in a loss to the Hoosiers. But come on, Internet. Settle down.

Comments (0)
Penn State didn’t play horribly Saturday --- it just didn’t play complementary football in a loss to Indiana
Updated: October 08, 2013 - 2:17 pm

While football seems like a game distinctly separated into offense and defense, the two indirectly go hand-in-hand. The units aren’t on the field at the same time, but one affects the other in a major way.

Comments (0)